One thing that defines a company is its culture. It determines the environment the employees are immersed in daily and results in how that company is interpreted by both outsiders and insiders alike. An important aspect of company culture is the traditions that it instills and the reactions it brings. No two companies can have the same traditions, for they are shaped by the people involved, the sentiment behind the tradition, and the unique experience created by each individual involved. However, they can yield the same results:
- It can strengthen interoffice relationships. As most know, being outside of the work environment with coworkers brings great potential to the strength and depth of those relationships. Of course, we have our passion for the specific field of work in common, but sometimes (although not here at greenlight) that can be the extent of conversations had. Tradition can bring forward new conversations and friendships. Seasoned employees will often share stories of the past year's traditions in order to include new employees and prepare them to shape this year's experience together as a team.
- It gives employees something to look back on fondly and look forward to expectantly. The memories and associations created with a certain company or in a certain workplace speaks volumes about the truest nature of the company. Psychologists have found that emotions play a vital role in memory; thinking back to a certain fond memory can evoke those same emotions in a person, leading them to remember further the good times that were had. These feelings that tradition and inclusion bring are what will forever be associated with that memory of the company. Sharing these memories in the workplace creates an ongoing positive environment and exciting buzz about company happenings.
- It creates employee engagement. While tradition is one thing that builds culture, it is also influenced by behaviors, values, workspace itself, etc. and that takes time to solidify itself. However something that is subject to change quickly is the atmosphere of a company, which relies almost dependently on the attitude of the employees within the office. When it is easy to understand and be included in the supportive culture of a company, employees in turn know what to expect and what is expected of them. These expectations, however, will not seem forced in this situation. If the company culture is something they feel included in then the rest comes naturally.
- It provides unconventional employee benefits. If any agency continues to provide their employees with experiences signature to their culture, not only is the agency the benefactor but the employees feel the positive impact as well. It's not rocket science: happy people equal a happy workplace. While this is not one of your traditional benefits (healthcare, 401K, etc.) it is arguably the most valuable benefits to receive. A positive perception of anything reaches beyond the workplace.
- It breeds passionate leaders. Being the new person in the office is not easy. Coming from the perspective of a twice-over temporary intern, it's undoubtedly a scary situation. Each time, I have been taken under the wing of (an) incredibly passionate employee(s) of the company. Their passion stems from a combination of the love of the work they are doing, their love for the company's standards and values, and their love of the people they get to surround themselves with daily. Their guidance and enthusiasm for the company is contagious. It is easy to become just as excited about the work you are doing if the people who are guiding you want you to see the reasons why they are so excited to be there and share it with you.
While these reasons apply to so many different companies, it is also because of these reasons that greenlight was named one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in North Texas by Dallas Business Journal and has been able to become all that it has today.
As greenlight closes in on their annual Verde Fair Day tradition, the above list could not apply more to the environment here. It's basically a national holiday for greenlighters... the office shuts down for the day, and heads out to the Texas State Fair to spend time together as a company eating fried everything and drinking good beer. The buzz in the office is undeniable as everyone looks back on the memories of past years, and forward to creating new memories with the newest additions to greenlight. As a newcomer here, I have been a firsthand witness to the effect that this tradition has on the perception of a company, both internally and externally and can attest to just how important this all is to the overall culture of the company.